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Word Building with Adverbs

Many a time Cambridge exam candidates are making mistakes with adverb formation. That’s why, in this article, we will address HOW adverbs are built at B2 and C1 level.

Read the six sentences below. They are taken from Cambridge sample papers. Use the word given in capitals at the end of the sentence to form a word that fits in the gap.

  • B2 First, Reading and Use of English paper, Part 3

(…) If you want to achieve success as a chess player, the main requirement is an ability to analyse a situation ……………………. . (…) EFFECTIVE (First Certificate in English for Schools, sample test 1)

(…) My teacher was critical of my tendency not to think ……………………. before making a move. (…) CARE (First Certificate in English for Schools, sample test 1)

(…) He made his first robot when he was 11, but, ……………………. , it was unable to move. (…) FORTUNE (Cambridge English: First for Schools, test A)

  • C1 Advanced, Reading and Use of English paper, Part 3

(…) Regular training to increase muscular strength is also a vital part of a professional’s regime, and this is ……………………. done by exercising with weights. (…) TYPE (Certificate in Advanced English, sample paper 1)

(…) As cotton is ……………………. having to compete with other crops for land, and oil-based fabrics become less acceptable, scientists are working to develop replacements for these products. (…) INCREASE (Certificate in Advanced English, sample test 2)

(…) In many more establishments, the overall level service is now judged to be of an ……………………. high standard. EXCEPT (Cambridge English: Advanced Practice Test B)

B2 First, Reading and Use of English paper, Part 3

  1. EFFECTIVELY
  2. CAREFULLY
  3. UNFORTUNATELY

C1 Advanced, Reading and Use of English paper, Part 3

  1. TYPICALLY
  2. INCREASINGLY
  3. EXCEPTIONALLY 

THE word is an adverb, isn’t it?

Let’s then analyse the adverb building rules.

Adverb formation rules

Adverb formation RULES

Pay attention to all the changes that are necessary to create adverbs from adjectives. Identify the rule, taking into consideration all the changes made to the adjective.

Add the suffix –LY to the adjective to form the adverb.

Examples: CALMLY, SLOWLY, FAIRLY

If the adjective ends in -L, add the suffix –LY to form the adverb.

Examples: GENERALLY, HOPEFULLY, CAREFULLY

If the adjective ends in a consonant followed by –E, keep the –E and add the suffix –LY to form the adverb.

Examples: DEFINITELY, EXTREMELY, ABSOLUTELY

If the adjective ends in –Y, change –Y to –I and add the suffix –LY to form the adverb.

Examples: SATISFACTORILY, EXTRAORDINARILY, ANGRILY

If the adjective ends in –LE, change –LE to –LY to form the adverb.

Examples: SUITABLY, COMFORTABLY, NOTICEABLY 

If the adjective ends in –IC, we add the suffix –ALLY to form the adverb.

Examples: BASICALLY, REALISTICALLY, SIMPLISTICALLY, OPTIMISTICALLY, STRATEGICALLY

Adverb formation EXCEPTIONS

Do you know what English, Russian and Chinese have in common? They are the languages with the most exceptions to the rules. When we think that we have come to grips with a rule, an exception is always there to darken our high spirits 🙂 Chin up! This is what makes English so unique, continuously keeping us on the lookout and broadening our comfort zone, as English learners, each time we come across such exceptions.

What are the exceptions to the adverb formation rules this time?

Attentively, read the adverb and the adjective this is built from. Identify to which of the rules above this is an exception to.

Exception to the following rule: 

“If the adjective ends in -L, add the suffix –LY to form the adverb”.

Exception to the following rule:

“If the adjective ends in –IC, we add the suffix –ALLY to form the adverb”.

Exception to the following rule:

“If the adjective ends in a consonant followed by –E, keep the –E and add the suffix –LY to form the adverb”.

This time, the adjective finishes in a vowel followed by –E.

 

Exception to the following rule:

“If the adjective ends in –Y, change –Y to –I and add the suffix –LY to form the adverb”.

Exception to the following rule:

“If the adjective ends in –LE, change –LE to –LY to form the adverb”.

Exception to the following rule:

“Add the suffix –LY to the adjective to form the adverb”.

Other examples: HARD, OUTSIDE, MONTHLY, RIGHT, LEFT, LATE, STRAIGHT.

Adverb formation NB

  • What if the adjective ends in the suffix –LY, such as FRIENDLY? Is its adverb form FRIENDLILY?

The answer is NO, we don’t form adverbs from such adjectives. The reason for it has to do with pronunciation. It is not easy to pronounce adverbs like SILLILY, GRAVELLILY or GODLILY? Such adverbs don’t even sound well, do they?

For this reason, instead of adding the suffix –LY, we must reword what we want to say.

E.g. She spoke in a friendly way. The thieves acted in a silly way.

  • The adverbs add more information about a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a clause or a whole sentence, aren’t they? In this case, is it correct to say “You look elegantly”

The answer is NO. With verbs such as be, become, look, seem, smell and taste, we must use adjectives instead. So, “You do look elegant!”

Adverb formation CHALLENGE

Read the sentences below. Replace the words underlined with an adverb ending in –LY. The first letter of the adverb is provided for you 😉

  1. The passengers only just escaped with their lives. B …………………………
  2. I suppose this plan is downright ridiculous. T …………………………
  3. I just want to know the truth. M …………………………
  4. He only understands in a hazy manner what is happening here. V …………………………
  5. Ukraine exports every year over eighty million tonnes of grain. A …………………………
  6. Your work has improved a great deal. C …………………………
  7. You must improve your handwriting because it’s quite illegible. A …………………………
  8. The twins were dressed in exactly the same way. I …………………………
  9. The manager will be with you straight away. D …………………………
  10. By coincidence, we’re taking the same flight tomorrow. C …………………………
  1. BARELY
  2. TOTALLY
  3. MERELY
  4. VAGUELY
  5. ANNUALLY
  6. CONSIDERABLY
  7. ABSOLUTELY
  8. IDENTICALLY
  9. DIRECTLY
  10. COINCIDENTALLY 

We have also been practising adverbs and their usage in English in the following article: Adverbs and adverb phrases positions in the English sentence quiz. Not only will it give you further practice with the position of adverbs in the sentence, it will also show you where in the Cambridge exam candidates must have an impressive command of these colourful language bits.

In case you want to dive deeper into the word formation, check these out – Parts Of Speech And Their Position In The English Sentence and Orthography And Cambridge Exams.

Now you are an old hand at adverbs, aren’t you?

I hope the information above has helped you understand how the adverbs are formed. If so, let’s celebrate it!

Adverb formation

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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